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2009 Jul 31 rinoa


Guy Blade Guy Blade---10:19:00


I watch; I write
So, in the last two days I have finished watching two series.

Yesterday, I finished watching Elfen Lied. For those no familiar with the premise, the show's first episode begins with a naked girl with a head shielding helmet walking through corridors cutting people in half with psychic powers, deflecting bullets, and otherwise causing huge sprays of blood. She ends this scene by beheading the just-introduced cute clumsy girl and then using her torso to shield herself from a hail of bullets. The show then morphs into a bit of an unwanted harem with occasional scenes of pure brutality. I think it would be fair to say that every single secondary character could be fairly characterized as being complete monsters. It isn't at all clear to me what the target audience of this show is. It is even less clear to me why ADV thought licensing it (and even dubbing it at that) was going to be good for them. Oh yeah, it also has the implied rape of a 13 year old by her father. So yeah. I think it sort of has a "train-wreck" style appeal due to the sheer horrificness of the universe proffered and wondering how it can possibly get worse next; I think that was about the only thing that kept me watching.

Today, I finished watching Battlestar Galactica. I had previously seen up through the first half of season 4. Yesterday, the second half that I had preordered some time ago finally arrived. I thought it was alright but it irritated me in several important ways. Spoilers ahoy. Firstly, they managed to kill of two of the hypotenuses on the love dodecahedron centered with Starbuck and Apollo and then, despite these deaths, don't end up with them together. What the hell? That's three corpses that were forced to die for this ship with no resolution in site. Secondly, how about any explanation at all for Starbuck's "rebirth"? Series explanation: god did it. Thirdly, why in the name of the 13 Gods of Kobol would giving up all of your technological advancement and reverting back to hunter and gather or hand plowing be a good idea? How did they manage to get 50,000 people to go along with this? Why did the Cylons--who would almost certainly die out in such a situation due to their unreliable procreative abilities--go along with this? Fourthly, why is Gaius Baltar (admitedly, my favorite character in the show) basically the only person to get a happy ending? Fifthly, why does Cavil eat a bullet? It is almost completely out of character for him. Sixthly, must the denouement really be full episode length?
End spoilers

In a tangentially related note, my copy of Deathnote has been in Altadena (the city where I live) since last Saturday according to the USPS package tracking. It still hasn't appeared at my apartment. I find this very annoying. I plan to go to the Altadena post office tomorrow and see if they can tell me anything.

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2009 Jul 27 garnet


Guy Blade Guy Blade---10:27:00


They aren't really cold
Earlier tonight, I finished Shivering Isles. I had picked it up a few weeks ago when gogamer was selling it for cheap. Since I had just finished playing through Resident Evil 5 (see below), I decided to give it a play. I still had my "Ruler of the World" character that I had used when I played through the main game about a year ago, so I used that to play the expansion. All in all, I think it was pretty well put together. I was especially entertained by the solid writing and voice acting that they put behind the central character of the expansion, Sheogorath. It is important for madgods to have good characterization and they managed to pull it off quite well. Otherwise, it reminded me of any of the other major sidequests in Oblivion.

Immediately before SI, I had been playing Resident Evil 5. The game itself plays similarly to Resident Evil 4 (no suprise there), but this time involves one of the original protagonists: Chris Redfield. Chris has been around since the original Resident Evil, but has only showed up in three of the 7 "main story" games: RE, RE5, and Code Veronica. Coincidentally, these are also the only ones in which Wesker appears. Overall, I enjoyed the game. I ended up playing through the game 3 complete times (twice on Normal, once on Veteran) in order to unlock various items in the game as well as to get various Trophies. I did eventually try to play it on the hardest difficulty, but, finding that normal enemies could one shot me, gave up on that idea.

Next up, I intend to finally finish The Last Remnant. I am also playing through Max Payne again now that I have managed to get the sound working in Vista.

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2009 Jul 21 relm


Guy Blade Guy Blade---07:35:00


Kaban
My old Lain bag was never particularly good at being a bag and my old backpack has begun to degrade in a bizarre fashion. As such, I decided to look into getting a new bag and about two weeks ago ordered a bag from Timbuk2. I bag initially arrived last week, but was not the one that I ordered. Luckily, the customer service people were very reasonable and cross-shipped me my replacement bag which arrived today:

Timbuk2 Messenger Bag

I ordered mine custom. The panel configuration (though it is difficult to tell from the lighting) is teal, pink, purple with a citron (yellow) logo. I chose these colors for two reasons. Firstly, they look decent together. Secondly, they are completely unmistakable from even across a room. I haven't yet tested the bag to see how well it will serve me, but just adjusting the straps and such I've been pretty impressed with how well put together it is. I may have more updates later.

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2009 Jul 17 harle


Guy Blade Guy Blade---09:34:00


Interior Update
Earlier today, I put the first hole in my wall since I've lived in my apartment. I did this using a nail so that I could put up my newly framed painting.

The lighting in my apartment makes it hard to get a shot straight on without there being glare, so I present two shots:
Dressed for Success (framed)

Dressed for Success (framed)

Because of the placement of studs in the wall, I had to slightly rearrange the wall's layout. I normally use 3M Picture Hanging Strips to hang pictures rather than driving nails into walls, but the painting framed weighs at least 7 pounds which is pushing the upper limit of what the strips are designed to hold. Regardless, I present the new wall's layout below:

Wall Arrangement Left 2009-07-16Wall Arrangement Right 2009-07-16

Obviously, there is some overlap in the images here. Starting on the left and just barely in the shot is pledge paddle. The first frames on that side are my Theta Xi certificate above my Upsilon Pi Epsilon certificate. Next over is my diploma. Then the picture of my graduating class at RHIT above my Pi Mu Epsilon certificate (apparently I lost my Sigma Pi Sigma certificate during college at some point...). Then we have "Dressed for Success" and finally a Gurren Lagann wallscroll. In theory, this is just an open wallscroll slot that could be switched out, but I don't have any plans to switch it out soon.

Rearranging all this, and putting up the couple of pieces of Haruhi fanart that I bought at Anime Expo, has made me realize that I like having interesting things on my walls. I suspect that this means that I may spend more time in the artist's alley at Anime Expo next year. I also wish that I had a good shot of the 004 cast that I could put up on my wall, but I'm pretty certain that we never made such a thing during the original run and it will only get harder to make one going forward.

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2009 Jul 16 aya


Guy Blade Guy Blade---05:49:00


Planning Stages
So, it is already the ides of July and I should probably start figuring out if I'm coming back to Indiana for Homecoming. Obviously, I'd like to do a 004 show, but I'm wondering who would even be available at this point. It seems like Andrew, Imani and Greg have gone to the four (three?) winds. I have no idea what happened to Phil (clearly the remaining wind). Last I heard, Tom was somewhere close enough that he could make it back to RHIT for things like summer kegger. Taken together, this sounds like maybe two live people in the booth which seems insufficient. Of course, I could be wrong.

So the question is thus: who is going to be around Terre Haute during 25-27 September? Can we make quorum? Does anyone other than me care?

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2009 Jul 11 anthy


Guy Blade Guy Blade---11:59:00


Engines
(Note: this post was written on Thursday night, but apparently I didn't post it then...)

I recently added two additional search engines to those available through the link. The first one I added was to Wikipedia's SSL site. The second one is for Anime Suki.

Adding WikipediaS option led me to discover an error in my database schema for additional hidden variables given to search engines. Apparently, rather than using a foreign key constraint against the search engine id, I had simply made the column that was (supposed) to be the foreign key constraint a primary key. This had worked fine as none of the engines that I've been using had required more than one additional parameter, but since the secure Wikipedia page also requires a parameter specifying that I want to carry out a search, I discovered it. This specific bug would have been introduced during the link rebuild that I did back in the end of 2006 for my databases course...

================

In unrelated new, my father has left (or more accurately, is leaving tomorrow). He had been around since sometime during Anime Expo and we went out to several dinners during the week. He also has encouraged me to look into buying a house more seriously. I've thus started filling out paperwork to go through a loan pre-approval process. We'll see how that goes. I suspect that having basically no serious liabilities is a major benefit.

================

I finished watching Kannagi a little while ago. The series is somewhat interesting, but seems to end unsatisfyingly. Since it is directed by one of the Haruhi directors and one of the Lucky Star directors, I expected a little more, but I mainly got some fun shout outs to those series instead. I would call the series...middling.


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2009 Jul 06 yuffie


Guy Blade Guy Blade---05:09:00


AX Day Four
Shortest day yet: I was in at noon and out before 3. I bought a painting that I'd been considering getting. I had originally though of getting a different one (a Disgaea 2 group shot similar to the box cover art), but ended up buying "Dressed for Success" instead. The pic below is a crappy photo of it while still in its protective wrapping.

Disgaea Painting

I intend to get it properly framed, but it is hard to find a custom framer who is open on the fifth of July, much less a Sunday.

I only went to one panel of consequence today: Production I.G.'s industry panel. The panel itself had a few interesting things in it, most notably that there is going to be an Eden of the East movie. They also talked about a fully 3D movie, Oblivion Island, that is currently in production and which seemed somewhat interesting.

I spent some more time in the dealer's Room and saw another person from CAS. I ended up buying a Shadow Skill boxed set. I had originally watched the first few episodes some time when I was in high school, but had never been able to find any of the rest. I saw the box set on sale for about $30, so decided to pick it to see if it had aged well. I also bought a few Haruhi fan posters in the artists' alley. I'm not entirely sure what I'll do with them, but since they are relatively standard sizes (12x18), I'll probably just buy a couple of frames and put them up somewhere in my apartment.



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2009 Jul 05 elly


Guy Blade Guy Blade---07:18:00


AX Day Three
I got up even later for AX today and so got into the convention center around noon. My first target was the FUNimation panel. They announced various things: Gunslinger Girl Il, Dragon Ball (they now own the first 13 episodes which they hadn't previously), and various other things that I can't remember. Overall, nothing that really made a mark on me.

I wandered the Dealers' Room some more afterwards. I saw a couple people that I know from out here: one is in my D and D group and was with his kids, the other was someone who occasionally comes to CAS (Steve Racer). I still have yet to find the first box set of Utena and am beginning to give up hope. One person was selling individuals of the first two (of four) discs of the set, but wanted $30 each for them. Another was willing to sell the first 10 discs for $150. Neither of these seemed like a fair shake. I was extremely tempted by some Nippon Ichi artwork that they were selling at their booth. I've been tempted by it each day of the con and, after looking at what custom framing will run for it and my current supply of disposable income, will probably end up picking it up tomorrow. I may force myself to do a coin toss to make the final decision, however.

I grabbed some substandard, convention center sushi for lunch and then went to the "Anime Debate: Final Round" to kill some time. I didn't actually stick around for the debate itself because the pre-show entertainment things that the host does were better than the debates themselves previously. One of them today involved a girl winning a contest by yelling "TITS!" as the answer to a question to which it was not the appropriate answer. She later was...attacked?...in another contest by another female forcing a kiss on her during another contest. It was unexpected and caused that particular contest to end without resolution as far as I can tell. I skipped out after that because the debate couldn't be nearly as interesting as the pre-show (though the debate topic was "Hentai is for perverts" which could have proven interesting, I had my doubts).

Then, I lined up for the Anime Music Video contest rebroadcast/awards. They had done the initial showings the night before and allowed the viewers to vote. Votes were tabulated last night, and after showing each category winners were announced. It was pretty enjoyable and was prefaced with showings of Dead Fantasy. It seemed that the winners in most of the categories seem to have been chosen mostly by song choice, but I suppose this is not entirely suprising. I was a bit annoyed that the winner of the "Drama" category seemed to be more of a "Comedy" video as it was Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" set to Death Note. Athough both the song itself and the series in question are generally serious, it was constructed so as to be mainly humerous with cuts designed to provoke laughter.

That was the end of my day at the convention. There wasn't anything else on the schedule that interested me and so I was back at my apartment by 7pm. Apparently, my start and stop times are narrowing each day. I don't consider this a bad thing, necessarily, but I wish they'd not front-loaded so much of what interested me into Thursday and Friday.

Tomorrow will probably be mainly a shopping day since the con closes at 5 and there is maybe one event that I'm interested in going to see.

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2009 Jul 04 rinoa


Guy Blade Guy Blade---06:55:00


AX Day 2
Today, I arrived at AX later than yesterday because I there wasn't much that I was interested in going to see until around noon.

I started the day by checking the Exhibition Hall again looking for Utena season one. In that, I was unsuccessful. I did however manage to not buy anything else either, so that might be considered a victory of restraint.

Afterwards, I went to the Aniplex industry panel. They mainly showed off trailers of things that I'd already seen, but the main thing that suprised me was finding out that Guin Saga had been licensed. They didn't come out and say who had licensed it or even announce that it had been licensed, but they did show an English-language dub of scenes from the first episode which makes it seem almost certain that the show has been licensed given the incredible cost of dubbing.

At that point, I had about 1.5 hours to kill until the Morning Musume concert and there were no panels that even seemed remotely interesting. Instead, I went to a screening room where they were playing the first 4 episodes (00 and 1 through 3) of Haruhi. When I had originally watched Haruhi, I found it interesting and fun and enjoyable but didn't quite get it. I didn't really see why it was as popular as it was. However, rewatching episode 00 and 01 made me realize how brilliant the whole thing is. The 00 episode doesn't make a damn bit of sense the first time through, but seeing it now, it seems brilliant given the understanding of what is actually going on. Maybe it is the sort of thing that requires two passes...

Then came the Morning Musume concert. It was fine. I had a good seat (last row of the left-center-front section). However, I'd say that their style sort of brushes up against the edge of what I generally like. I found them nice enough to listen to, but tended to sort of wander off mentally while they were performing. I suppose not everyone can be The Pillows.

I grabbed some food and then went to the preimere of the Evangelion movie. It was...Evangelion. It was also dubbed, which I wasn't expecting, though the dub was competent. The main thing the movie seemed to have up on the series was an extreme lack of still-frame silence time. All of the angst is still there, compressed into the two-hour format of a movie, of course. The film itself didn't cover the entire series and is probably closer to maybe 6-8 episodes worth (at least if the fact of them making four movies is important). They've updated all of the Evas themselves with conspicuous CG. It isn't clear to me that this is an improvement. Also the movie did not introduce Asuka, which seems strange given her relative importance to the series. They referred to her offhandedly a few times as the "third child" being "trained in Germany", but she got no screen time.

Ultimately, Evangelion is Evangelion and if you liked it before you'll probably enjoy the movies since they've basically cut big swaths of filler. Also, the movie looked like it did a fair bit of animation recycling, but it's hard for me to say definitively since it has been something like 5 years since I last watched Eva (in contrast to the Gurren Lagann movie where I'd seen it like 4 months ago).

Once Eva was over, I decided to call it a day because there was nothing else on the schedule that I cared about.

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2009 Jul 03 emeralda


Guy Blade Guy Blade---09:11:00


AX Day One
Today was the first day of Anime Expo and, since I have a pass for all four days, I attended. I had some difficulty finding both the exit from the interstate to the Staples Center and then once off the Center itself, but I still managed to arrive by about 9:30. Waiting in line for my badge was relatively straightfoward, though they forced us to queue up outside in the July sun.

After looking over my options for the day, I realized that there was nothing that I was really interested in going to until the 5pm panel from Right Stuf/Nozomi. I initially tried the tabletop gaming room because I've been doing a fair amount of board gaming recently, but it was devoted entirely to people playing the Yu-gi-oh! boardgame. Also, the Exhibition Hall (a.k.a., the Dealers' Room) didn't open until noon, so I spent the next several hours waiting in line (outside again) to get a ticket for tomorrow's Morning Musume concert. I'm hoping that I didn't get a sunburn from the waits. In line, I saw a really good c(r)osplayer of Wander. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture because the cosplayer was taking off her parka at the time and she was like 2/3 of the line away around a bend.

After that, I went to the Exhibition hall. I mostly restrained my spending: I only purchased two things there. Those two things were box sets two and three of Utena which are basically impossible to find as far as I'd been able to tell. They cost me $65 and $50 respectively which seems like a hell of a deal when compared against Amazon used prices or buying the discs individually. I was also severely temped by a print of a painting rendition of the Disgaia 2 cover. It was listed at $325, however, and that seems a bit too much for a game that I've neither finished nor am entirely sure that I like. I'll hunt more for the first Utena box set tomorrow if I make my way to the Exhibit hall again.

In the afternoon, I went to an "Anime Debate" panel because my feet were begining to be tired of walking all day. It was mildly interesting, but two of the three debate options which came up were severely one sided (Is the Anime Industry dying?; Xbox 360 vs. Wii) due to the demographics of congoers. If I'd been on the first one, at least I could have made good arguments about the death of the smaller US licensors and the pain caused by easy access to fansubs. The panel there instead made arguments about nostalgia for the "better" old series like Macross. It went poorly for them.

By that time, it was almost the Right Stuf panel's start time so I headed over to it to get a seat. On my way, I got flagged down by Andrea which was a strange thing to be sure. Seeing her there was entirely unexpected, but seemed eminently reasonable given that she works in Arizona. I hadn't seen her in over two years, but I guess my trademark ponytail + labcoat is recognizable even from behind. We chatted briefly before heading to our seperate locations.

The Right Stuf panel was mildly interesting, they announced that they are licensing Aria, Rental Magica, the fourth season of a shoujo-ai show, and a pair of shounen-ai shows. I managed to snag a copy of the first DVD of Aria by asking a question.

After that was a panel by Mega 64 which was rather entertaining, but tapered off near the end. I personally would have prefered Loading, Ready, Run, but I don't think they make decisions that way.

The last thing I saw today before heading home about an hour ago was the US Official subtitled premiere of the Gurren Lagann Movie. It was about 100 minutes long of which the majority of the first 60-70 minutes were recycled directly from the series. However, the final half hour or so consisted primarily of new, awesome work which includes [spoiler]Simon climbing an enemy mech by stabbing it with drills[end spoiler] in addition to other brilliant moments. According to the person who spoke briefly before the showing, there is currently a second movie running in Japanese theaters, so we can expect to see it in the near future as well.

And then I came home and wrote this post, and then it was now, and then I don't know what happens.

Tomorrow, my main priorities are going to the Morning Musume concert and seeing the screening of the Evangelion movie. I'd also like to try to BESM 3E tournament, but it conflicts with the Eva movie, so it seems unlikely.

Saturday, I'm only really interested in the FUNimation panel and seeing the AMV contest replay (I don't want to go to the first showing because I'd have to stand in line at it to get tickets for an indeterminate amount of time).

Sunday, I'll probably just go to see what deals are in the Exhibit hall. One of the days, I'll also try to do a Collateral Damage "learn to play" session as it is a game made by the same people who did Whack a Catgirl which Nate used to praise quite highly. I'll also probably look into getting a new bag of some sort. My Lain bag is really a poorly designed courier bag and my old backpack is begining to degrade in some bizarre way that involves the fabric shedding some sort of plasticy stuff that (I hope) is the waterproofing.

All in all, decent start.

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